She sits down in front of me. Relief floods through my brain. It is the irresistible surge of dopamine that comes when you finally complete a task that’s been haunting you for months.
I appreciate her punctuality, and try to show it with friendly eye contact and easy smiles. But for the first few minutes, she refuses to meet my gaze. She’s obviously nervous. She finally comes out and says it: “so, you’re not a serial killer!”
We burst out laughing and I can tell already that we’re going to be friends. This girl definitely has a personality. She’s different.
For months, I’ve been texting girls from Tinder: doing everything short of begging them to go out with me. Some have agreed, others have said no. Some have explicitly told me that they’re only on the app to make digital friends whom they never intend on meeting. Many more have abruptly stopped replying to my texts — leaving me confused and humiliated.
She has a mischievous smile and a wicked sense of humor; she seems to delight in tossing ambiguous adjectives at me. I look “exotic,” she says, but am thinner than my photos had suggested. In her eyes, I look like I recently survived “some kind of illness.” She also tells me that one of my previous Tinder matches, a girl who I never ended up meeting, is her best friend.
She is adorably petite, her eyes twinkle with fun, and her mind is always ready with the next acerbic comment. But she is painfully conscious about her skin, which while not flawless, is far from the eyesore she thinks it is. This girl has no idea how cute she is, and I am amused.
We eat ice cream after dinner and talk about ethics and her miserly boss. Though naturally shy, she responds to difficult questions with outspoken views and nuanced opinions. This reticent girl is supremely entertaining. We finish our ice creams and say goodbye.
When I get home, I begrudgingly delete Tinder from my phone. It’s time for me to cut off my endless supply of undiscovered female company. It’s harder than I’d expected to be. I suspect that I am addicted to Tinder, and the thrill of every fresh connection.
I can’t resist one final scan of the app, which reveals three new conversations with women who’d turn any man’s head. Three new chances at something. But I just don’t have it in me, to jump through hoops, to prove that I’m not a weirdo to women I’ve never met. I’m over it.
I don’t have many apps on my phone. Aside from music, I only need apps for the essentials: food, finances, football, and friends. But females? An app that delivers them just isn’t for me.
By Kunal Bambawale
Photography: Karan Khosla